Co-ordinates: 11º44’S, 22º33’W
Weather: Overcast and warm
Air Temperature: 20C
Wind speed 14.6km/h North/Northwesterly
Pressure 1010 hPa
What a beautiful, warm, calm day to embark on our journey along the coast of South America. Today, we had a small group of intrepid adventurers joining us on the Silver Explorer, full of excitement for what promises to be a trip of a lifetime. Our voyage will include archaeology, history and culture on the one hand and promises of spectacular sightings of birds and seal life on the other.
Embarkation day is always one of anticipation as our newly arrived guests are greeted at the gangway by Expedition and Hotel Staff. Many of our guests on this voyage have travelled with us before, so they know the level of comfort and quality of service on the Silver Explorer, but there is always a level of uncertainty when starting a new adventure.
Once all of our guests had settled in to their suites and had used the opportunity to get to know their way around the ship, we had a mandatory safety drill. Safety is a key priority on the Silver Explorer and we like to get the important formality of the lifeboat drill completed prior to leaving port. Once everyone was comfortable with putting on their life jackets and had been shown to the lifeboats, we were able to relax again for a short while before heading out on deck where we could enjoy a glass of champagne as we sailed out of port. Callao is not the most picturesque port, but the mackerel sky turned red as the sun set slowly while the ship pulled away from the dock. A stunning sight without a breath of wind, wind hundreds of gulls wheeling around the fishing vessels moored at the other end of the port.
As our guests were about to find out, there is always something happening on this little ship and our next activity was the staff introductions, where our Expedition Leader, Conrad Combrink, introduced the heads of Departments and the Expedition Team had a chance to introduce themselves. The team is one of incredible knowledge and experience from around the world, with Conrad coming from South Africa; Daniil Elterman, the Assistant Expedition Leader coming from Latvia; and Staff Assistant Tim Amm, also from South Africa. Then the lecturing staff consists of a seasoned team of professionals, including Patri Rodrigues from Uruguay and her husband Marco Favero, both ornithologists; Hans-Peter Reinthaler, our botanist from Austria; Clair Allum, our Archaeologist from Canada; our Historian, Christian Walter, also known as “Rapa Nui” as he is from Easter Island; and Uli Kunz a marine biologist, oceanographer and underwater photographer from Germany. I make up the large South African contingent in my role as climatologist, although because I have a keen interest in birds it means I am always on the lookout for our feathered friends with our guests and of course our videographer, Ray Stranagan, who is the only American on the Expedition Team. After the staff introductions, it was already time for dinner, so off everyone headed to The Restaurant where they had the first experience of the amazing meals that are to become the norm on this voyage. What a lovely day and this is only the first day of our journey.